Vice President for Communications
Leila McDowell is a prominent communications and public relations expert who has spent 20 years utilizing her extensive communications skills to build the power and impact of progressive organizations. She is a co founder and former vice president of McKinney & McDowell Associates, currently McKinney Associates, which grew from operating in a church basement with one client to a major firm successful in helping its clients impact the national conversation and change national perception and policy.
McDowell is a former broadcast reporter with several ABC affiliates, WPIX-TV (NY)), CNN, National Public Radio, AP radio, Inner City Broadcasting, Radio One and others. She has served as communications director for a number of non profits including the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation and Center for Community Change. Her clients have included Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Change, NAACP-LDF, Amnesty International, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Cancer Society, TransAfrica, former South African President Nelson Mandela, former Haiti President Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti and the Governments of Jamaica, Angola and Venezuela.
Most recently she was the architect and coordinator of the comprehensive communications strategy for an intense public campaign by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union against Smithfield Foods that achieved its goal of securing a fair process for elections at the world's largest pork processing plant. The workers' landmark vote to unionize marked the largest victory in the union's history. She has developed numerous campaigns to shape the national debate, affect policy change and achieve legislative victories. Ms. McDowell is a former radio personality with WHUR-FM and WKYS-FM in Washington DC. She studied communications and film and television production earning her BFA at New York University.